Thanks Santa – it’s even the right colour!

BCS BLue IWA cropped

The Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has provided an early Christmas present for Buckingham Canal Society in the shape of WRG’s former 3 tonne JCB 803 excavator.

Known as ‘Blue’ the machine was purchased for WRG following an appeal to celebrate The Inland Waterways Association’s 50th anniversary in 1996. When new, the machine was formally handed over to WRG at the World Canal Conference at Birmingham in 1996, by the then Waterways Minister Robert Jones MP [see Navvies 157 and 158 front cover]. Over the past 17 years the excavator has given sterling service to WRG and a range of waterway restoration groups around the country, to whom it has been loaned.

Although ‘Blue’ is still going strong, it is beginning to show signs of age and WRG decided that its days of travelling around the country to different work sites should come to an end. Consequently, WRG is looking to buy a new machine in 2014, largely utilising ‘restricted purpose funds’ that have been given to IWA for Waterway Recovery Group work. Expressions of interest for ‘Blue’ were sought from waterway restoration groups around the country and Buckingham Canal Society put in a particularly good case for taking on the machine. WRG has now donated the machine, with the Society just paying transportation costs for delivery.

The JCB excavator will now hopefully enjoy many years of productive retirement helping Buckingham Canal Society restore the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal. Currently it is being stored with the kind support of Cosgrove Marina prior to the restoration works the Society are expecting to undertake later in 2014. ‘Blue’ will stay blue as the society recently adopted the colour blue as part of work to update its website and publicity materials. As always, any BCS volunteers interested in learning to operate “Blue” or develop their proficiency skills will be most welcome and should contact any of the trustees. 

WRG small logo    IWA logo